Sunday, October 30, 2005

Think of it as a homework assignment

With nothing substantial to report on, nothing new to share, I feel the need to write something, if only to stay in the habit. There was even a little pressure earlier in the day, as I thought, "what the hell am I going to write about?" So, though it feels like cheating a little, I offer some lists (at least there are personal anecdotes in some of them):

The "Friends" list -- although to quote Monica in that episode, "first I need a boyfriend, then I can have a list":
1. Derek Jeter (of course)
2. John Cusack
3. Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams, Bull Durham era)
4. Kiefer Sutherland
5. Kevin Spacey

The best baseball games I've seen live:
1. Game 5, ALCS 2001, Seattle at NYY -- everyone chanting "no game 6 every time Pinella came out to the mound." I had been to an NFL game two days earlier and the noise of the crowd at Ravens Stadium couldn't even come close to how loud, and how much the stadium actually shook, in the Bronx that night
2. Nomo's no-hitter, Boston at Baltimore -- first night game of the season, I was only going to stay for a few innings. Sidney was pitching for the Orioles -- and was pitching really well. So I thought, I should stay and see how long this lasts. And then suddenly, it's the 5th inning and I realize that while Sidney is pitching the game of his career -- it's not good enough as Hideo Nomo is pitching a no-hitter -- the first in the history of Camden Yards. Unfortunately, it's against the Orioles.
3. July 4, 2001, NYY at Baltimore -- Tiffany's first game...we got into the stadium early with my credentials and got a prime spot by the Yankees' dugout. Joe Torre came over and signed a ball for her and gave her Jeter picture to a ball boy to "have DJ sign." Clemens pitched...and you don't get chills hearing the National Anthem until you hear it in the city it was written in on the 4th of July
4. The first game after 9/11, NYY at Baltimore -- it should have been the last series of the season, but because of the stop in play, we still have another 10 days to go. It was the first time the National Anthem made me openly weep -- and I would imagine that 48,000 other people in the stadium that day were crying as well.
5. October 6, 2001, Cal's last game -- it was cold and damp, and I was sitting in the top row of the upper deck for the game. But before the game, I had media credentials and was on the field for the presentations. After the pre-game ceremonies, I said hello to President Clinton, who, I was told, couldn't stop looking at the "girls." All night, I proudly retold the story, "the President checked out my rack!"

Honorable mention -- July 5, 2003, NYY at Baltimore (do you notice a trend?)...a few days before Tiffany's 16th birthday -- we made a sign that read "Hey Jorge, it's my sweet 16th, how about a birthday kiss?!" She didn't get a kiss, but he came over and talked to her before the game, signed her sign and a ball. It was very cool, and something I wished we had figured out a long time before!

To Do Before I die:
1. Fall in love, get married, have a baby -- yes it all counts as one, although, even settling for one or two would be okay, too
2. Get some stamps in my passport -- I know it sounds very Sandra Bullock in "While You Were Sleeping," okay, more specifically, ride in a gondola at sunset, under the Bridge of Sighs with someone I love, and go to Ireland and England
3. Write a book...or should I say have a book published, since I have actually written books and short stories
4. Feel comfortable in my own skin -- 100% of the time, for days on end. I know that everyone hates something about themselves no matter what they look like, so to feel the comfort more than the discomfort would be a success
5. Have my 15 minutes -- whether I'm promoting my book, or fighting for a cause, or performing something, or being interviewed by Oprah for all of the above -- but being the media darling and PR Goddess of Baltimore doesn't count Wheel Man...where've you been? I'm worried about you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Casey at the Bat

The mouse problem has continued, intermittently. I really thought we had the problem solved when my parents came down and we found some small holes in the closet under the stairs. But low and behold, about 10 days ago, my favorite feline brought me a dead baby mouse. In the middle of the night, of course.

I thought I handled that one well. She carried it down the stairs for me, and I was able to use some cardboard in the trash to dispose of it. And I only let out a minor scream once. And it only took me three tries to get the mouse on the cardboard and into the trash can. I then forced myself not to deal with the thought again.

Until the past few days....when she's been suspiciously nosing around the closet under the stairs. In fact, upon my return from Richmond/Baltimore on Sunday, she wouldn't leave the bottom stair. I broke down last night and called my landlord.

That sweet 78-year-old man walked over in the rain and helped me empty everything from the closet (bins, the Christmas tree, small boxes, etc) and what did we find? Absolutely nothing. So there he stood, in the middle of my kitchen, scratching his head, flashlight still in hand -- when what do I hear? Casey scratching at something.

I looked in the closet and she was digging at the wall. Tony crawled back in, and found it. You couldn't see it if you were standing in the front of the closet, but down on his belly, with his head under the bottom stair, he saw a small hole. Clever kitty.

He used foam filler and filled the hell out of the hole and the areas around it. He sealed stuff that didn't need sealing. And now I feel much better.

Of course, the contents of my closet are still in the middle of the dining room and living room. I wanted to wait for the foam to dry. I'll deal with putting it all away tonight. Or tomorrow. Or over the weekend.

And so the mouse mystery at 105 #3 is solved, thanks to a very clever kitty, and a very understanding and patient landlord.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Subtle....he never was

It seemed like an innocent comment. Innocent to the speaker, not to the recipient. The very worst thing you could ever think about yourself, and then have someone you trust actually say it. It's a comment that still haunts me, many years later.

I was working in Baltimore, had been there two or three years at this point. I was out after work with my boss and Bitch-stine (when she was still happily married, still morally aligned, still my friend). We had been talking about dating -- and my lack of dating prospects of late.

Bitch-stine said I was too picky, that I overlooked good potentials. I agreed that that was probably true. And then Mike said, "You need to lose some weight."

Like a slap in the face. When I later confronted him on the comment, he said I needed to lighten up, that I needed to take responsibility, anything to make it seem like it was not what he said but how I interpreted it. Because, really, I had come to learn at that point even, that nothing was ever Mike's fault.

So however he meant it, whatever point he was trying to make, what came across to me was, "you don't have a boyfriend because you're fat." Like I didn't know that already. Thanks for the news flash.

It's something I had always thought, had never had the guts to say out loud, and here it was, out on the table, at a little bar, on a rainy Friday afternoon, in north Baltimore city. And not to trivialize the moment, or pull in a pop culture reference, but here it is.

It's the episode of "Friends" when Ross makes the pro/con list for Rachel and Julie. I remember watching that episode not long after that night, and that was what I felt. Except nobody could understand why I took to heart what he said.

I remember Bitch-stine (all 90 pounds of her) telling me that I was foolish to listen to anything Mike said (okay, true), and then not understanding how the thought process could be going on in my head. The only thing that someone said that made even a dent was John Z -- he reminded me that I was "laying down" with one of the biggest cazenovas in Baltimore, a man who could have any woman he wanted -- and he chose me. Time and time again, BB called me.

And so why do I bring this up three, four years later? Why do I let it still bother me?

Because here I am, gaining some self-confidence, liking the way I look -- and man, no prospects. And then I wonder, if I continue to lose weight, if I continue to gain self-confidence, and nothing happens? Then maybe it's just me.

I'm not sure how this tangent evolved -- this wasn't my intent when I started writing. I think it's the book that is pissing me off a little. I'm reading it, and I'm reading these comments from married people, and all I can think of is the annoying know-it-all mother friend of yours who says, "you can't understand how this feels until you have kids of your own."

But I'm going to keep reading, and hope that it gets better. Hope that I can glean something positive from it. Because right now, when I really think about it, about how I am where I never dreamed I would be -- or wouldn't be -- it's pretty damned frustrating.

Monday, October 24, 2005

...And the Rest of the Weekend

I spent a low-key weekend in Richmond. Played bunko with my sister-in-law and her friends (think yahtzee with three dice, and a picture of near-naked man that you have to wear around your neck if you get bunko -- I kid you not). One of the women there -- I later learned no one really like her -- asked me who was older, me or my brother.

I couldn't even pretend to have manners when she asked me.'ve just met me, and now you're asking me who's older -- me, who, though I am 35, does not look it, or my 44-year-old brother. I also couldn't let her off the hook gracefully when she tried to apologize. Yes, I am a bitch -- but, I am also ultra-sensitive of my age.

Friday, I relaxed, having the house to myself. Ran a few errands, got some Christmas shopping done and carved a pumpkin (see picture!). Friday night, we hung out at home, watched TV, ate pizza and chatted -- just like when I lived in Baltimore and would head down to VA for the weekend.

Saturday, I drove to Baltimore. Or, I should say, back to Baltimore. I made such good time on I-95 that I called friends I wasn't planning to see for a quick, 30-minute visit. Then headed to Linens N Things, where I used to work part-time.

Nothing has changed -- same people, same gripes, same fun. I miss it. I really do. I had fun shopping -- got way too much stuff, but it was worth it. A new pink comforter -- it screams "ellie" -- pink on one side, and pink, light blue and dark blue stripes on the other. And pink gingham checked flannel sheets. Yes, I'm a girly girl sometimes!

And the highlight of the weekend -- Robin, someone I used to work with on the floor, looked at me and said, "you skinny, girl."

Let's clarify, that while I've been referring to my jeans as "skinny jeans" and while I do look better than I used to, by no means am I skinny. In some ethnic cultures, those who appreciate curves, yes, I would be perfect.

Back to Robin. I laughed and thanked her for noticing, telling her that if I came home with her for Thanksgiving dinner, then yes, her family would probably think I looked good. But in my world....not so much. She laughed, her big, loud, rowdy laugh, (oh I miss that laugh) and said, "yup, you as white as they come."

And I saw Caroline -- my favorite. I loved working with her. She had a way of making stupid customers suddenly realize that they were stupid, without being rude. And then of course, when she would say exactly what you were thinking to rude customers, just enough under her breath that they would hear her, but think twice about it. Did she just

Saturday night, I went to Wanda's. Her husband fixed an amazing meal, and I got to give Miranda a bath. It was good to see Wanda -- we talked about the miscarriage and B, in a way that only old friends can in person, while we put Miranda's pj's on, and while we washed dishes after dinner. We've known each other almost 10 years -- and this past year was the first one where we didn't live in the same city.

That realization last Thanksgiving when I was visiting was hard. And I cried when I said good-bye to her at that visit. It's gotten easier, but I miss her tremendously. It was so good to be able to spend such quality time with her, even if it was just an overnight visit.

And she made a great observation -- one I hadn't noticed. She said, "isn't it funny how Richmond has become home for you?!" And I thought about it. When I lived in Baltimore, I went Richmond about once a month -- about as often as I got to Syracuse now. And I would do Thanksgiving in Richmond and Christmas in Syracuse, as well as three or four long weekends a year in Syracuse. Now, I'm having Thanksgiving in Syracuse and Christmas in Richmond -- and just got back from my third or fourth long weekend in Richmond.

And alas, Sunday I drove home -- northbound 83 to 81. It was sunny, the leaves were mostly changed. I had some candy, a bagel and a bottle of Diet Pepsi. And there was crap on the radio. Isn't that the way it should be?!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Still driving around Baltimore, waiting for a phone call....

I looked fabulous. Without even trying. Okay, without looking like I tried. Straight hair, crooked part, just enough wax holding it in place. Skinny jeans teamed with pink ribbed sweater -- accentuating the waist and the boobs. Black hoody, since it was 39 degrees when I left Ithaca in the dark. Black shoes. Just a touch of mascara and eye-liner.

The drive was easy. I didn't see a cop until I crossed the Mason-Dixon line (the Pennsylvania-Maryland border). I stopped for a potty break and to get gas around 10:45, about a half hour north of Baltimore. I called J, and told him exactly that.

"Hey, I'm in Harford county. I should be there in about a half hour."

"Cool. Call me when you get in the city, and we'll meet somewhere."

So, I rode down I-83, the Jones-Falls Expressway, seeing all sorts of things that looked so familiar and so foreign at the same time. This wasn't my home, anymore. And honestly, it never felt like my home, even when I lived here.

I was amazed by all the construction north of Little Italy. What was once slums are soon to be high-priced condos, I imagine. But here I was, in the city. I dialed J's office number. Got his voice mail. Hmmm....dialed his cell phone, got his voice mail there as well. I left a message, gave him my cell number again.

I pulled over by the water and waited. I called his office again, getting voice mail again, but this time leaving a message. And waited. About a half hour later, I called the main number and talked to the receptionist. She said he was tied up in a meeting. I explained we were meeting for lunch, 45 minutes ago, and could I speak to his assistant.

The assistant got on the phone. I relayed my dilemma again. She told me to hang on, coming back with a message that J would call me back in 5 minutes. I gave him 10, and then headed to Richmond. He never did call back.

I left him a message on Friday, saying that I hoped everything was okay, and that if it was, I was pissed and he owed me. Big time.

I guess I can't be mad until I know that nothing horrible happened. And really, I'm not a person that gets mad. Maybe that makes me a push-over. Probably. Oh well...

The funny thing about all of this -- I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed that I didn't get to see J, or that J didn't get to see me. Ego? Sure. I'll admit it. I look good -- and he hasn't seen me in over a year. So, hell yea, I wanted him to see me. And tell me how good I look.

And what would that have accomplished? Nothing, but making me feel good. A few chits for the self-confidence meter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

49 years and 11 months, today

One month from today, my parents will celebrate their 50th anniversary. My brothers and sisters and I are planning a big party for them. I've actually put my special event planner hat on and have been having blast with this party (think spread sheets and budgets and a planning binder!).

It will be at the ballroom of a hotel in Syracuse, and we've invited almost 80 people. I have a formal program all worked out for the night -- presentations and toasts. My oldest sister is producing a video from pictures that everyone sent us. One niece is singing, her sister is dancing. My youngest niece and nephew are reading a poem. And I got a picture signed by Cal Ripken Jr., congratulating them on "18,263 consecutive days of marriage." We even have a quasi-celebrity as the master of ceremony -- a local news anchor who went to high school with my dad.
All my out-of-town siblings and their families are flying home -- so for my parents, their eight children with their seven spouses (yes, poor l'il ole Ellie is the only single one), the eight grandchildren, plus the husband and child of a grand-daughter. So really, half of the 80 invited are just immediate family!

The only black eye on the whole thing is my sister Sue. I don't want her to come. And I know that's selfish, because not only is she my sister, but she is their daughter, too. And this is for them. But I feel uncomfortable around her. She never comes to anything. It's like she's a stranger -- but not, because she's my sister.

The last time I saw her was last fall, at my great-uncle's birthday dinner. She came up and hugged me. I was taken aback and slightly offended. Because it felt like some stranger invading my personal space. And what was I supposed to say, "hmmm... nice of you to come to this family event." And before seeing her, knowing that she was going to be there, I had minor anxiety about it. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe because it's outside of my comfort zone.

We've been betting, amongst the seven of us, whether she and Frank are really going to show. On one hand, how could they not? But then, I've said that before about other family ocassions. And they never showed up.

If this was Vegas, and we were truly betting, I think the odds would be pretty good that they'll show. She e-mailed me the other day -- not in response to the e-mail I sent reminding her that she needed to send her share of the party money by November 1, and certainly not the one whose subject line read "info needed, please respond" -- but rather to RSVP for her mother-in-law, and then added, "of course, Frank and I will be there, too."

Of course.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

I've been reading the book that Just Thinking recommended, "How to Get a Date Worth Keeping," by Dr. Henry Cloud (see how I did that with my title?!). And I must say, it's speaking to me. Every excuse I can think of, this man has an answer for.

All the good ones are taken.
I'm fat.
I'm afraid of rejection.
I'm too shy.
All my friends are married (or coupled) -- there's no one to go out with.

But it's about taking chances. So when I get back from Richmond on Sunday, I begin my task, as outlined in the book. To keep a log of every man I meet, and whether there is dating potential -- there are three criteria that need to be met. And then I'm guessing that after a few weeks of that, I will need to meet a predetermined number of men each week, hence increasing my chances of going on a date.

And the biggest thing I've learned, only 60 or so pages into the book, is that dating is a learning experience, not about finding a husband. It's an interesting theory -- and one I'm willing to try for a little while.

And so, of course, I'll keep you updated as things progress. I have the feeling that I'm going to be spending a lot of time at Barnes & Noble, chatting up strangers about the books they are thinking of buying.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Maroon Five

I'm having lunch with a friend in Baltimore on Thursday. Stopping on my way to Richmond. I'm so excited to see him. Though we've talked and e-mailed since I left Baltimore, I haven't seen him in over a year.

What do I wear? It has to be something comfy (five-hour drive to Maryland, another two-and-a-half to Richmond). But cute. Without looking like I tried too hard.

Why do I care? Well...J is one of those guys who could have me any way he wanted (yes that means exactly what you think it means). The first time we worked together, there was an immediate attraction and undeniable chemistry.

And when I say immediate, I mean immediate!

And not only was he the first man to say to me, "if only I wasn't married...." -- but he was also the first one for me to think, "if only he wasn't married...."

And while I know nothing will happen on Thursday -- it is just lunch, for goodness sakes -- there is something about him. Something about the way we interact, the he looks at me and teases me, that is just good for my ego.

And so the selfish, ego-centric part of me says, "wait until he sees me." I mean, come on, there was sexual tension and a forbidden kiss between us when I was 35 pounds heavier. (Yes, my self-view of my attractiveness is tied directly into my weight -- a column for another day.)

I talked to my friend Bubbles tonight, and she said, "you two belong together. And if he ever got a divorce and you ended up together, you'd be the perfect couple. Someone would be having a party and before anyone would accept, they'd say, 'are ellie and j coming?'"

"But we wouldn't be like sticky sweet, perfect couple."

"No, not like Barbie and Ken. But we'd still talk about how perfect you were behind your back, even while loving you."

"Yea, we're too sarcastic with each other to be Barbie and Ken."

And that's one of the things that I find most attractive about him. His personality. He challenges me. He doesn't let me get away with things. And being the youngest, and having that youngest kid mentality, I tend to want to get away with things.

And so while I'm not pining away for J, not wishing on a star for his marriage to break up (that would be horrible), I do wonder, "what if...." How could we have met in another lifetime? Where could our paths have crossed before Baltimore?

No, I'm not pining, not wishful -- but I am thankful. Thankful for having him in my life, as my friend, as someone I can count on. Professionally he's my sounding board. Personally, he just might be the stick against which I measure all men.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

E-Harmony, the Half-Assed Way

Perhaps, I should be keeping a more complete list of my e-harmony frustrations. Though that could get depressing and discouraging.

My bitch for today -- if you pay all this money to sign up and you actually start responding to someone, see it through!

More than once, I have received a match, and gone back and forth through the first few steps with a person. And then...nothing. I wait. And I know people have lives, and they might be away, or not able to go on-line for a few days. But then weeks go by, and nothing.

The latest perp in the long list of guys not following through: Binghamton Dan.

When last we left him, we had successfully completed the first three stages of communication. Next? He was to write me an e-mail. I waited. And then, he decided to put the match on hold because he was "unsure."

Today, he has closed the match, giving the reason of "other." What the fuck? If you're going to go through with this thing, with this on-line dating, give it 100%. Don't race through the steps and suddenly stop just short of the finish line.

Men are really disappointing me lately. Just when I thought there was a little bright spot, BAM, it starts to rain again.

It's All About Family

Why does the weekend always go so quickly? A moment ago it was 10am on Sunday morning, and I was thinking that a nap was in order, that I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted. Suddenly its almost dark out and work is inching closer and closer. At least it is a three-day week for me (yeah!), as I have Thursday and Friday off and am going to Richmond for a long weekend, with an overnight in Baltimore next Saturday to see Wanda.

I went to Syracuse yesterday for the day -- spent a lovely day with my niece and great-nephew. My parents met us at Ryan's "kiddie gym." They were fairly well-behaved, though Fran tried to have a conversation with me about Sue.

"Sue and Frank had to drive to Albany yesterday for a wedding."


"And they have a ball to go to tonight."

Silence from me.

"For Make a Wish."

More silence.

"Her firm is sponsoring it."

I looked at her, wondering if she was going for a world record on getting "So" as a response from every statement she made -- or if she was that dense that she thought I cared. Apparently my look worked. She stopped talking about them.

*Sigh* I try not to be mean to my mother on purpose. Especially after she gave us money for lunch, and me her credit card to go shopping with. And sometimes I feel like such a bitch, but really -- can she get over the Sue and Frank thing already?

Jenny and I went to the mall -- and it was a good visit. I've been feeling a disconnect between us, and I was worried and uncomfortable about it. And there are times when I hear her stress about her life, and I don't understand. I want that kind of stress -- the kind that comes with a husband, a baby and a house. But when we were together yesterday, I understood better. She has a husband, a baby and a house -- and she doesn't always feel like she's doing it right. But she is. She's doing a great job. And sometimes needs to take a deep breath, but can't because of her 18-month-old demanding all of her attention. And though it makes no difference in the scheme of things or to anyone but me, I feel better about our relationship and understand a little better.

We ate lunch at the food court. And stopped into Gertrude Hawk, with our fake innocence over their everyday samples policy. "Oh you have samples today? Sure, I'll have one. Hmmm...we might to stop on our way out to buy something here." And then of course, we never go back. One smidgen does me good.

And then we shopped. I overestimated my "$100 Fran budget" by $50, but was happy with my purchases -- a pair of corderoy pants (for Ithaca winters on top of the hill), a pleated skirt (both in black for when I start up at BBW at Christmas time and am forced to wear a "uniform" again), two ribbed turtleneck sweaters (blue and pink) and my winter staple, four pairs of black tights.

All in all, a good Saturday in the 'Cuse -- clothes that fit me and a relationship reconnected, got in a birthday visit with my mom (her birthday is today), and spent some time with the baby.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I Really Am Mrs. Jeter

I had the strangest dream last night -- and I can't figure out what brought it on. I didn't eat right before I went to bed. I wasn't thinking about any of the people in my dream before I went to bed, or even in the last few days. Weird.

I was pregnant. Very pregnant. Easily eight months along. And I was married to Derek Jeter. And we were at a store, someone stopped him for an autograph. While he was signing, I felt the baby kick. He asked if I was okay, and I said, "she's pretty active today." He stopped mid-autograph to put his hand on my belly.

And then suddenly we were home (it was the house I grew up in -- for whatever reason, lots of my dreams take place in this house) and I was getting ready for a dinner party. Cal Ripken was coming over with my friend who works for him. Neither of their wives came, interestingly enough -- just Cal and John. (I wonder why A-Rod wasn't there. I think he's better friends with Cal than Derek is. Hmmm...maybe we were mad at him for hitting 2 for 17 in the playoffs.)

I made a fabulous dinner -- chicken cordon bleu, some sort of hot veggie, salad, home-made bread, and mashed potatoes. And then creme brulee for dessert. My brother Bob called -- because he's a foamer and he knew Cal was at my house. I told him he could come down for dessert.

And then I woke up. And I was kind of sad that none of it was true. That I wasn't married and that I wasn't pregnant, but mostly that I didn't get to have sex with Derek Jeter.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

When it Rains, It Pours

Literally. It has done nothing but rain in upstate New York for the past week. And I think we have another three or four days of rain. I guess, it's better than snow!

But on to the reason for my column title. After complaining that I was only getting one match a week....after lamenting that there was no one in Ithaca for me....not only did I receive a match of someone from Ithaca, but within the last day, I received five other new matches.

One "closed" the match almost immediately, citing that he was pursuing another relationship. I almost didn't respond to him initially -- one of his pictures was laugh out loud cheesy, back lit by the sun coming through a patio door and his shirt completely open. But then I said to myself, "Ellie, you're being shallow. Cast that net wide, girl." So needless to say, I wasn't entirely disappointed when he closed the match.

The others look promising -- but I've been here before, so I'm being a bit more cautious. A new Mr. Rochester, 37 and a programming engineer and pictured with his two dogs (wins points immediately for that!). Two new Mr. Syracuses, 38-year-old database manager and a 39-year-old network administrator. A Mr. Baldwinsville (who might as well be in the Mr. Syracuse category), 38 and works as an administrator at a paper manufacturing facility. Currently he and Mr. Ithaca are at phase 3 -- the open-ended questions.

But again, I've been here before. And I'm taking on a more realistic approach -- not getting terribly excited about anything or anyone until a real communication takes place, until an actual phone call, or dare I hope, a date occurs.

The trials and tribulations of being single -- I really hope that all the marrieds say to themselves, at least once a week, "thank god, I don't have to go through that anymore."


A Short Fran Story

God bless her....she e-mailed me and told me to look on the Lane Bryant website, that sometimes they have really good sales on sweaters, that I could find some for $10 or $12, that she would buy me a couple (apparently my whining about not having any clothes worked).

I wrote her back, and hope she took it the right way, I wasn't saying it to be snotty, but...."the whole point of losing weight is so I don't have to shop at Lane Bryant anymore."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's Hump Day

I've just been scolded for not writing for two days -- sorry to leave my readers hanging. I feel like I've hit a dry spell, so I'll give a quick recap on what's been going on and hopefully be more inspired tomorrow. So Bubbles, this is for you.

In telling my friend JRK about e-harmony, I suddenly realized that all the men they've sent me as matches have lived in either Binghamton, Rochester or Syracuse (or suburbs of those three cities). None in Ithaca. Does that mean that there are no men in Ithaca for me? I've got two colleges here -- which means two sets of faculty, two sets of coaches (yeah!), two sets of staff....and still, nothing.

But then, yesterday, a message in my inbox from Dr. Neil Warren Clark whatever his name is (and on whom, by the way, I might have to open up a can of whoop ass if I don't get a freakin' date soon!). A match -- in Ithaca! He's 32 and works in "management at an Ivy League school." Gee, I wonder which university that is. Go Big Red!

So, being the overanxious girl I can sometimes be, I immediately sent off my list of five close-ended questions. And now ---- I wait.

On the B side of things (and I know I promised Just Thinking that I would get over him), I realized that the sweet, caring man I was with two weeks ago was just a facade -- he's just another guy. He doesn't know how to deal with the fact that I might like him, he doesn't want to lead me on, so he ignores me. There's a weird vibe between us -- there is nothing casual or flirty or fun anymore. Oh well....I've also realized that it's his loss.

I saw him at the gym last night (he decided that in order to be a rock star, he needs to be in better shape) -- and it was nice to not talk to him. Another friend of mine was on the treadmill next to me, B on the other side of him. And John and I talked baseball, playoffs, football, and Babe Ruth stats and trivia the whole time.

And it hit me -- B has no clue what the hell I'm talking about and would never be able to have this kind of conversation with me. I need a man that can carry on a conversation like that. I need a man who can appreciate what Roger Clemens did on Sunday, and who can understand why yesterday (and deservedly so) was "pick on A-Rod day."

And finally, on the running....I'm up to seven minutes (dear lord, not consecutively) of running. My shins are a little sore today -- I'm guessing I need to stretch out the front of my legs a little more. But it feels great. I am also officially running out of clothes that fit me.

And I've suddenly become that annoying girl in school who was excited about book reports and pop quizzes. I got off the treadmill, totally sweaty and red-faced, and B was standing there, fresh off the stair master, looking like he wanted to die, and I said, with total joy, "Isn't this great? I can't wait to come back tomorrow."

I think if he could have moved his legs, he might have kicked me. Just Dr. Henry Cloud book arrived today. I'll have that to read and two baseball games to watch in bed tonight.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The People's Republic of Ithaca

I know I live in a liberal city -- something like only 2% registered Republicans. And I know that I don't think of myself as strongly attached to one party of the other. I tend to vote on issues, rather than with the party -- and in some issues, I lean to the left, others to the right.

I was at the gym tonight after work. There are two TV's -- one is usually tuned to a cable news station, the other to ESPN. I always walk on the treadmill in front of the ESPN TV -- obviously. I finished my walk/run (5 sets of running for a minute, walking for four) and was doing the lower body circuit.

There were two older women also on the machines near me -- probably in their 60s, and most definitely faculty. One said to the other, "this place is going to hell in a hand basket, they've got FOX News on one TV and god damned sports on the other. I thought this was Ithaca."

OK, I can see where a liberal mind might have a problem with FOX News, but ESPN?! What's wrong with ESPN? Sports are bi-partisan, unless you're talking Yankees-Red Sox, Cowboys-Redskins.

I shot her a dirty look, but continued squeezing my inner and outer thighs as I read the closed captioning of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. Even giggled a few times at their jokes. Sports are entertaining, they're a business (one that kept me gainfully employed for five years) and they are a way of life.

To quote ESPN...."where would we be without sports?" I, for one, wouldn't want to know the answer to that question.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

If B Stood for Balls

I imagine the way a conversation might go -- if it were ever to take place:

"I told him (who? doesn't matter) that we had agreed to just be friends."

I'm surprised. "Oh? Really? I don't remember having that conversation." It sounds harsher than my normal tone. I'm glad.

"I just mean, that...after that night at my place..."

"Oh, when you said you needed to time to think about it, and then never got back to me. Oh I see I was supposed to take your lack of communication and understand exactly what you were thinking, what you feel about me."

"Don't be mad."

"I'm not mad. I'm never mad. Ok, maybe I am, but mostly at myself. Because I let myself get my hopes up, I let myself be excited about you. I went too far in my mind, made plans too far into the future. Here you were, a nice single man, interested in me. Asking me out, asking me back to your place. But you said you needed to think about it, and then you didn't act one way or the other, so of course, I should have just inferred, I should have just realized by you NOT getting back to me that you don't like me that way, that maybe you never did."


Just once, it would be nice to just hear the truth. No bullshit. Just..."ya know, Ellie, I was thinking about it. And I do adore you, so much that I can't risk us hooking up and ruining what we have, and you deserve better than just a hook up, anyway."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Run, Forrest, Run

I love to run. I love the feeling. Pure freedom. Exhilaration. And when you're in the zone, you don't tire. The running actually energizes you.

I imagine that's the way running is. I wouldn't know. The only running I've ever done is in my dreams, literally. Every once in a while, I will have a dream where I'm running. Not for my life, not in fear of something, not away from someone, not even toward something specific. Just running for the joy of it.

And when I wake up after the dream, for a brief moment, I still feel the joy.

Tonight at the gym, I ran. By chance. One of the trainers told me that even though I was working hard on the treadmill, I wasn't hitting my target heart rate. I was building cardio endurance, but not burning calories as much as I could. Even walking with the incline at 7 or 8, walking at 3.7 mph, I was still only at 120.

So she suggested running. It was hard. It wasn't exhilarating. I ran for one minute, at 5 mph, with no incline. Then walked for four, at 4 mph. And then did it again. And again. By my third minute of running, I was exhausted. But my heart rate was up to 180, in the high end of target zone.

And I thought, I can do this. I can run. I might not run a marathon. But if I run three segments of one and four for a while, I can certaintly increase my segments and/or the length of time I'm running.

And tonight, as I'm watching the Yankees lose to the Angels (who, to me, are still the California Angels, but don't get me started on that), I've made a pledge to myself. I'm going to run. Run like the wind. And by this time next year, I'm going to run a 5K.

Because we're nothing if we don't set goals for ourselves. And sure, every once in a while I might put a "gimme" on my to-do list, just so I can cross something off. The four minutes of walking will be my gimme -- the one minute and beyond is my goal. And the 5K will be my prize.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin

I was standing in alumni relations this afternoon, waiting for a co-worker so we could walk to a meeting together. She was talking, and I was waiting. The alumni director walked by and stopped, and looked at me. Strangely. I had no idea what he was about to say to him.

"You're looking awfully..."

Annoyed? Bored?

"...thin. Are you working on it?"

I said that I was. "I can see it in your chin."

In my chin?! Granted, it probably would have been inappropriate for him to comment on my actual body. But my chin?!

It made me feel good anyway -- and I'm actually getting better at accepting compliments. What is it about women? Why can't we just smile and say thank you?

"That's a pretty dress." -- "This rag?"

"Your hair looks great." -- "Oh please, I'm having a bad hair day."

Just say thank you. And I have to remind myself of that, over and over again. I don't take compliments well, because I'm not sure of the motive. It sounds awfully cynical and suspicious of me -- and I'm usually not a cynical or suspicious person. But I think most women are like that. Otherwise seemingly confident, succesful women -- suddenly insecure when someone comments on their physical being.

I remind myself there is no motive. They wouldn't be saying it if they didn't think it was true. They would just say nothing. It's not like you were fishing for the compliment -- it came out of the blue, all on their own valition. So, smile...and say thank you.

But there is another kind of compliment, one that is hard to comprehend. The non-compliment. I have a co-worker who is great at the non-compliment. A couple weeks ago, I wore a pair of khakis -- they were kind of new and sort of fit me, closer in size than most of my current wardrobe. She said, "nice pants."

Now I was about to say "thank you." But what was she really saying -- nice pants on you, or just, nice pants? So I merely said, "Old Navy, you gotta love that store."

She has also been known to comment on the color of a shirt or sweater. "That's a great color."

Not "that's a great color on you," but rather "great color." Well, since I had nothing to do with creating the color, can I really say thank you? And is she really saying something that deserves a thank you?

I'm perplexed on that one -- and maybe I shouldn't be. Maybe, I should respond to the "nice pants" the same way I respond to the "you're looking awfully thin."

Smile. And say thank you, Gilbert. Thank you.

Karma Chameleon

Do I believe in dating karma? Do I think that previously bad things I did are somehow casting a bad spell on my success (or lack of) in finding someone to have a relationship with? Is there a cosmic quid pro quo? It's a possibility, I guess. And it's as good an answer as any as to why a seemingly cool chick like me is still unattached.

But how to reverse the bad karma? How to undo the things I've done? I can't confess them to the person I've wronged. There is no need to hurt that person further. I feel that I'm making up for it by the fact that I've not let it happen again. But is that enough?

Here's the was Fall 2003 and I had to pick up a Museum VIP from the airport and deliver her and her son to the hotel. They were coming in to Baltimore for a couple days. I dragged a friend along for the ride -- actually I made him drive.

I didn't anticipate staying at the hotel as long as we did. But we stayed for dinner, and evenutally into the hotel bar, drinking and talking with a co-worker of mine and the VIP's son. I don't know what time it was when we ended up leaving -- but a whole lot of beer had been consumed.

When we got to my place, my friend came up to my apartment. I had something for his daughter, and he needed to use the bathroom. While he was doing that, I changed into my pajamas, planning to pass out as soon as he left.

We were standing in the living room, and I hugged him, presumably good-bye. And he kept hugging me. And then he kissed me quickly. Again, I thought nothing of it. A good-bye kiss. A good-bye kiss, however, that kept happening, until the good-bye kiss got longer, and then was not a good-bye kiss.

I pulled away, and he pulled me into his chest. "Oh Red, if only I weren't married. Can you imagine if we had met each other when I was single. We'd be good together."

I should have responded with: "Yea...we would have. But you're married. And you're also not the first man to say this to me." How sad is that?!

Instead, I started to cry, and then he kissed me again. Again for too long of a time. I pulled away. What else could I do? Slap him like some silly B-movie scene? Call him a bastard and kick him out? I sent him on his way, and then fell into a fitful sleep of confusion and guilt.

But it begs the question -- did I lead him on? Did I somehow invite him to think that this was okay? Honestly, I don't think that I did any of those things. But it happened. And it was wrong. And in the world of black and white, I am just as culpable as he was.

And so, two years later, is this moment of indiscretion coming back to haunt me? To somehow curse me? Or am I grasping at straws? Trying to rationalize that, maybe -- just maybe -- I haven't met him yet. For whatever reason.

Not fate. Not curses. Just life. And everything happens in its own due time -- but is not tied to actions of the past.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I've got a secret...

Why are we reserved with people who know us best? Is it better -- or easier -- to open up to strangers? Is it our nature to be secretive? Does it add an element of excitement? Or is it based in insecurity?

I've had this blog for several months, have written significant life events and feelings and reactions related to those. And yet, this column (as I like to refer to it) has been my secret. Unintentionally at first. I wasn't sure how far I would go. How habit-forming and cathartic it would become. But then once I started and had been doing it for a while, it felt awkward to bring it up.

"Oh by the way, I've had a blog for the past 10 years," or something like that.

Perhaps I've been able to write unedited and completely open because I know that my audience is mostly strangers, mere acquaintances. Have I felt more independence in my writing because of that mere freedom of not knowing who was reading?

Will I feel judged now that I've shared more of myself with those closest to me? Will I feel exposed? A need to justify my actions, feelings and thoughts? I don't think so -- I hope not. Recently, I've given this URL to more people, widening my circle of readers -- and the response has been positive, so I've given it out to a few more.

Now I don't anticipate putting it on my business card and handing it out at the next family gathering -- those are some of the people who are better off never reading this! But I do feel more comfortable expressing myself, exposing myself, if you will.

And maybe that's a step in growth, as well. And a step in accepting myself.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Is this really October?

It must be, because the play-offs start today. In fact one game is underway. Nothing better than games starting at 1pm and lasting all through the day. Nothing better, that is, unless it's October 4th, in upstate New York, and it's almost 80 degrees outside.

I just went for a walk across campus. The trees are just starting to turn, little hints of orange and gold; the sky is perfectly blue, with little bunches of clouds; and the lake is glistening. It was nice to get outside, out of the air conditioning (I've had my space heater on in my office all summer!), and into the fresh air. Hope and I walked the long way around campus, dropped off a proof at Career Services, mailed the anniversary party invitations (how exciting it will be when I start getting RSVP's!), and then picked up something at ITS.

As we were walking out of the ITS office, I said "let's go back outside."

"Are you sure?" I knew what she was asking. If we stayed inside and walked down the building, we would have walked by B's office.

No hesitation. Outside. I had some sort of realization -- and I'm not exactly sure when -- but I said, "if he wants me, he knows where I am."

And Hope nodded, and said, "Exactly, and I'm not saying another word."

So, in my moment of clarity, walking past the pink flowers around the flag pole, looking out onto the sparkling lake -- he knows what I want, what I'm willing to give. He's the one who initiated us going out. He's the one who pulled the plug. I'm not saying he's completely in control -- but I can't control him. I can't urge him to do something. Nor can I wait around, wondering what he's going to do. If he's going to do...

And so, I'll enjoy the sunshine for the next two days, enjoy the warm weather, before it goes away for six months and keep doing what I'm doing.

Working on me from the inside out -- making my outside as beautiful as my inside, and believing everyday that my outside and inside are beautiful. And maybe someday, someone else, whoever he may be, will believe in my beauty.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Didn't Expect This....

I just had a really good cry. Actually, it wasn't good, but that's what people call it. Why, I wonder? What's good about crying when you're sad? I guess it's cleansing -- but then your face gets all red and blotchy (at least mine does) and you've got to blow your nose like a goose.

I cried because I found out that one of my interns in Baltimore passed away last week. She was in her early 20s and had had ovarian cancer and a hysterectomy when she was working for me at the Museum at the age of 20. One of my former co-workers called me today to tell me that she died last week. I remember after her surgery, I brought her a personalized baseball signed by Brian Roberts (her absolute favorite player). She was so happy, she cried. And that's how I'll remember her -- happy with a baseball from her favorite player. RIP, Laura Hamilton -- you left us too soon.

And then I cried again because I found out that my dearest friend Wanda had a miscarriage. I tried to be strong, but started to cry before I could even call her. I pulled myself together and we talked about her beautiful daughter, how she's been getting through the past week and how Miranda's little face helps make it better. And then she asked about me, and I tried to give her the 10-words-or-less version of what has been happening with B, and ended up crying again as I explained how completely vunerable I feel about this situation.

And I'm probably still crying because I have PMS. I haven't done this in so long. It might actually be cleansing -- unless I get that headache that I usually get from crying this hard. Tomorrow has to be better.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Would like to be in a chocolate-induced coma right now....

It's beyond liking B now. It's to the point where I am analyzing things that aren't even happening. I just need to know -- does he want to pursue something? Anything? Or are we just friends? And what kind of friends are we, exactly? The kind who only see each other at work? Or the kind who lay on a bed together, cuddling and talking, but having nothing resembling any form of sex?

Nothing has happened to elicit this diatribe on a Sunday afternoon. And that's the problem. Nothing has happened. I was fine until we went out last week. Actually, I was fine until we went back to his apartment. I had stopped thinking about him so much. Stopped wondering if the flirting was going anywhere. Had stopped over-analyzing all forms of communication with him, wondering if it was appropriate. And then a couple of beers and a couple of hours on a bed -- and BAM, here I am again. Neurotic over a non-relationship.

Friday night after work, I went out with my friend Erica. I was too dressed up for a Friday -- but that's what happens when someone schedules a Friday meeting with a Dean -- so I had to go home and change. We agreed to meet a little after 6 at Benchwarmers. I got out of my meeting at 5, after having spent the previous hour wondering what I had to wear that wasn't too big on me, and drove home with a full plan of what I needed to do in the next 30 minutes.

Plugged in the straightening iron, turned on the computer, pulled out my jeans, a thong, black v-neck sweater and a push-up bra (ouch, but necessary -- the sweater was a little big and really needed the enhancement of the push-up bra). I saw that B was still at work, with his away message up. Erica had been gently prodding me to tell him I was going out. I wasn't sure if I should.

But after getting changed, and touching up my hair and make-up, I thought what the hell?! So I changed my away message to say "at benchwarmers, go yankees!" and IM'd him with: "buy you a drink if you're out tonight. i'll be at benchwarmers after 6."

I didn't expect that I would see him, though I was hopeful all night. Erica and I stayed at Benchwarmers for a couple hours, then moved to a couple other bars, before heading to the "naughty store." And then as we were walking out with our brown paper bagged purchases, I thought, oh perfect, this is when we'll run into him. (It would have made a more interesting story if, in fact, we did run into him then. But we didn't.)

I drove Erica home and thought, well at least I'll have an IM response from him when I get home. So I've given up the gym, drank one beer beyond my usual limit and ate french fries -- and my reward, besides having a great time with my girlfriend, will be the message to send me off to sweet dreams. Right?


No message. Nothing. He had signed off when he left work, and signed back on at home. And had his away message up.

Now rationally, all of this tells me that I have gotten way too caught up in him, way too attached to nothing substantial, and I honestly need a reality check. I figured this all out today, as I procrastinated working out and realized that I have PMS-induced munchies -- not good for the 10 more pounds by Halloween plan. However, in a moment of clarity, what was the worst thing I ate -- sugar-free pudding and baked Lay's, when what I really wanted was a turtle sundae from Purity.

All of this tells me that I need to back off. I need to stop thinking about him. I need to go back to normal, to where we were that afternoon when I put my arm around him and simply told him I missed him, after not seeing him for two weeks. I was confident at that moment, comfortable, knew where I fit in the order of things. Now I'm confused, analytical and just plain neurotic.

It's not supposed to be like this...but then I guess, it's not supposed to be like anything.